King Ropes Has The ‘DIRT’ That You Need
King Ropes is an angst-fueled experimental rock band from Bozeman, Montana. Their debut album Dirt is a moody, heavy-hitting effort that distinguishes this group as one to watch for. On King Ropes’ debut album, frontman/guitarist Dave Hollier writes deeply expressive songs rooted in the highs and lows of human experience. Layered expertly with deep sonic textures and surprisingly catchy melodic hooks, this album shows off the many facets of this intriguing five-man collective. Chock full of songs that resonate with hard-fought insight and poignant emotional revelations while appreciating the splendid beauty, horror, and constant complexity of life.
When I first listened to Dirt, the first artist that sprang to my mind was one of my favorite bands, Portugal the Man. The dark and brooding qualities that King Ropes is able to generate is undeniably magnetic. Rife with musical and emotional fireworks, Dirt stirs with such insistent tunes as “Dogleg Boy,” “Lurch on Sister,” “International Shortwave” and “Shovel and a Pickaxe” exemplifying Hollier’s vivid songwriting and the band’s infectious punch, maintaining a gritty, organic vibe that underlines the album’s title. Dirt has a smoldering energy to it that sizzles and builds with every increasingly raw track. This band set themselves apart from the pack with their composed yet impactful delivery.
“After years of working with my hands, I was at a place in my life with a severe lack of dirt under my fingernails,” Hollier explains. “So I guess that calling it Dirt is a bit of an incantation, hoping to attract more of it back into my life. Musically, I felt pretty strongly about balancing out the pretty, sweet elements with the raw, gritty stuff, both in the sounds and the lyrics.”
Dirt is the product of a journey that’s taken Hollier and his songs back and forth across the United States before landing him in his home state of Montana. The album began in Hollier’s long-time home of Brooklyn, where he began cutting tracks with drummer Konrad Meissner (Katy Perry, Matt Nathanson). Hollier took the project with him during a brief stint in Los Angeles, where he continued recording with some West Coast based players. Now settled back in Bozeman, Montana, King Ropes has evolved into a self-contained quartet with the addition of kindred spirits Dylan Treleven (Silver Dollars, Oberhoffer, Widowspeak), Ben Roth (Oberhofer, BOD, EZTV) and Adam Wolcott Smith (Zen Mother, the Growlers), whose effortless rapport and multi-instrumental abilities lend added gravity and power to Hollier’s compositions.
“I’m interested in the contrasts between urban and rural, eastern and western, sophisticated and raw, sweet and bludgeoning,” Hollier states. “People think it’s weird, a kid from Montana to move to New York in the 80s. NY was pretty gnarly then, but those two extremes define who I am, and I think that this music reflects that.”
Despite its far-flung origins, Dirt maintains a sharp musical and emotional focus, reflecting the band’s potent chemistry and Hollier’s distinctive songwriting voice.